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Five poems from ‘Mattered by Tangents’.

By TIM ALLEN.

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59

,

,

logic: the tiny friend
its ditsy diameter won’t let you down
whatever it is connecting the human to the sonnet
opera audience honk

dryads and sparrows mill around the bench
dialogic prof brandishes rugged arm long thermometer
Cliff School was my pea soup sink piece of dishwater notion
impassive passion

all lines meet where they were supposed to part
straight lines a bit like circles
dash forward fiend with some allergic behaviour
using fists to reason with intransigent pencil sharpener

60

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.

the first line is for sale
the second line’s an Art Brut balaclava
kick-boxer’s torn mouths stack up like boxes
this fourth line‘s not such a bargain either

Russian doll wobbles right-angled to doll’s house spy-hole
armoured dodecahedron chink
poetry helps no one but no one asked it to
Tin Pan Albion delirium brew

lost property is lost theft
Flo Nightingale mutates under a war horse thumb
the blizzard of nails rains right to the left of them
it feels much freer being crucified young

61

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lifting polystyrene slats into ungrateful air
stopping in an attempt to understand
describing the highway to the humble road
it hasn’t all been this crucial

attractive form moves off
flyleaf dedication refined to a teensy-weensy oblivion
shells on shelf have shaken off the self
dirt road to the ocean on the back of a playing card

triggers arrived separately
diverted into Death Valley sandpit
box of desert rose burdens delayed in customs
swimming floats bitten on the edge like big biscuits

62

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.

e.g. the station platform distorts your feet
snails of smitten induction
unicycle bon vivants smirk traditional smiles
trod for miles into groin spirals

violet wildebeests
for photo-print mugs read protean shyness
blond legs under raincoat made of their own coffee
the casual obvious segues to surreal twirled pale

springy half-moon digits
skiffle group of surgeons cut out a pattern
knee-jerk symmetry knocks back the coconut milk
wordy thought files away a too cool contradiction

63

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secure claustrophobic gubbins
abstract gadget witness
splayed boots inspected closely by poltergeist
webbed toes travel through gormless gristle

coat complicated by what’s pockets what’s sleeves
ruff more complex than a fur coat’s neck brace
still resisting any accent recognition programme
innards stained with cold noise

they met under the sign of the Merry Lobster
press gangs red caps and white helmets
dug grubs are conscious like a foxcub’s subconscious
Vaseline the cramped valise poultice


Tim Allen lives in Lancashire and helps run the Peter Barlow’s Cigarette events in Manchester. Used to live in Plymouth where he edited Terrible Work and ran the Language Club. He is the author of various books from Shearsman, Oystercatcher, KFS, Red Ceilings, Zimzalla and if p then q. His most recent book is Portland: A Triptych (KFS 2019), a collaboration with Norman Jope and Mark Goodwin.

 

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